Systemizing your business is about creating a set of procedures for managing your work or business. These procedures are meant to clearly define what needs to be done, and how to do it. Many businesses fail to do this correctly and instead implement an endless array of meetings to continually create action items.
The purpose of systemization is to make it easy for daily operations to work without your direct involvement. Here, we’ll discuss 6 steps you can take to properly systemize your business.
Step One: Identify Recurring Tasks
The first step to systemizing your business is to identify any items that are repeated on a regular basis. It could be daily, weekly, and even something that repeats monthly. These are your recurring tasks and you’ll find these in every department of an organization.
Let’s take, for example, your technology and data. It’s almost impossible to operate any kind of business without having reliable resources in place that keep your systems online. Keep your servers operational, and your data secure. Your business also needs to have clearly defined processes for managing all assets to ensure that your sensitive information is easily accessible and protected.
You can systemize your business’ technology by implementing a data management system to stay organized. When everyone on your team knows where information is supposed to be stored, and the processes for working with those documents, you can eliminate the time spent tracking down files when they’re needed. Once you have a data management system in place, you’ll need to protect your systemized process by having a data backup system. This ensures that your data and business are protected in the event something happens to your infrastructure or software.
Step Two: Organize and Prioritize
The second step to systemizing your business is to organize and prioritize all the recurring tasks that you’ve identified. Depending on the size of your business, you might be able to combine some of these tasks into a single, general category that can be easy to manage. It’s also important to remember that you can always reorganize later as your business needs change.
For example, your sales, marketing, and customer support. When you’re first starting in business, these functions can be combined and handled by one or two people. Over time, as your business grows, you’ll need to split these functions into their unique departments. Each of these departments will have their separate policies documented for the processes that go along with each task.
Now that you’ve analyzed your list and prioritized what needs to be done according to their importance, the next step is to develop the policies and procedures. These will be essential for keeping your business and team running, even when you aren’t in the office.
Step Three: Developing Policies and Procedures
The third step to systemizing your business is to begin developing the policies and procedures that will be at the core of your business. These policies and procedures will keep each of the essential functions of your business running smoothly, so you can focus your time and effort on strategic items that will grow your business. As you work through this step, keep in mind that if you’re combining several functions under one umbrella initially, each function will still need its own clearly defined process and responsibilities.
Developing policies and procedures is nothing more than creating a system of steps that can be followed. Like a training manual. It should be as relevant for a team of three as it would be for a team of three hundred.
For example, your sales, marketing, and customer support. These departments need to have clearly defined instructions on how to interact with the public. Marketing will need guidelines for how to create compelling ads that will appeal to your target customers. Sales and Customer support departments will also need guidelines for how to approach prospective customers and how to take care of existing ones.
Step Four: Documenting the Process
The fourth step to systemizing your business is documenting all your defined processes. For your systems to work correctly, they need to be clearly documented so that there is no opportunity for miscommunication or confusion on what should be done in any given situation. While this step can be intimidating, there are excellent resources for managing and completing this step.
For example, your new hires will have some experience in their area of expertise. You can draw on this experience to help you create the policies and procedures for your business. To reduce the amount of time spent writing down these processes, use templates from internet, or through local business resource companies. There’s no need to spend your time reinventing the wheel. Much of the information you’ll need has already been created and can be customized to work for your company with minimal effort on your part.
If you don’t have the time or resources in your company to help you document your policies and procedures, you can always hire a business consultant to help you. You can employ them to create a training manual and a usable employee manual. A great consultant is a great investment in long term gains.
Step Five: Implement the Process
Once you’ve started documenting your processes and procedures, the next step to systemizing your business is to take them for a test drive. Start implementing these processes to determine if the basic structure will work. There will be bumps along the way. No business, no matter the size, gets it completely right the first time. As you work through this step, consider whether the process has the potential to be tweaked along the way to ensure that your company is capable of running smoothly when you’re away.
As your company grows, you’ll find it necessary to add positions to various departments, adjust policies and procedures to accommodate changing economic conditions, and so on. If the basic framework of your system is sound, these new changes will be relatively painless to implement and won’t require you to completely overhaul the way you do business.
Step Six: Diagram the Flow of Your Business
The last step to systemizing your business is to visualize and diagram the flow of your business. Merely identifying and prioritizing all the actions that need to be taken in your business isn’t enough. You also need to ensure that there is a logical ebb and flow between each of these essential areas. This may seem redundant at first. Once you’ve decided what each department is supposed to do, figure out how they should interact. Think of it as creating the diamonds and pieces that go into a necklace. Each piece may be beautiful on its own, but if they aren’t correctly linked, no one can really wear them.
To help with this step, you can start by visualizing and drawing how things flow through each department. For example, a new customer order begins with sales. Then, it makes it way to order processing. Onto shipping and eventually ends with billing. Eventually, customer service will be involved with following up and making sure the customer is happy with their purchase. Next, identify who is responsible, or accountable for each step in the flow. Lastly, evaluate the duration of the entire process to determine if any areas need to be improved.
There are several benefits to this, and why it’s important to not skip this step when systemizing your business. First, this step will make it clear whether or not the policies and procedures that you’ve implemented are working correctly. Secondly, it’ll help you and your team identify any areas of improvement, and define any steps that can be streamlined.
The Bottom Line
These 6 steps to systemizing your business may seem like a great deal of work, but they are relatively easy to accomplish. The amount of detail and time that you spend working through these steps depends on the size and nature of your business. Some will be completed in a matter of minutes and others may take weeks to complete. Taking the time to build a solid foundation first will save you a considerable amount of time and money.
Systemizing your business will have tremendous benefits for your productivity and efficiency. After putting in the work to create systems for all aspects of your business, you’ll need to make sure that those systems are properly secured and backed up. Join us for a FREE webinar presentation called How To Setup Your Own Free Cloud Storage System. This presentation will teach you how to set up a cloud storage system using your existing hardware, that you can use to backup the systems you create for your business. Use the button below to register.